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Statutory Construction: Approaches

How a bill becomes a law


In general
- General v Barrameda (1976) - land; interpretation of auction sale = registration
- Endencia v David (1953)

Frameworks: Textualism v Purposivism; Literal Rule, Golden Rule, and Mischief Rule
- Brannon
I. Major Theories of Statutory Interpretation
_common goal: faithfully interpreting statutes enacted by congress
_difference: best way to determine legislative intent in creating a statute
_statutory interpretation should respect legislative supremacy
A. Purposivism
_legislation is a purposive act; judges construe statutes to
execute legislative PURPOSE
_focus on legislative process; account the problem congress was
trying to solve
_tools: legislative process; text and materials constituting
legislative history; policy context
_core: reasoning by example; asking whether various specific
applications further purpose
*ask:
>what problem congress was trying to solve
>whehter the suggested interpretation fits into that
purpose
B. Textualism
_focus on words, emphasizing text over any unstated purpose
_tools: rules of grammar, canons of construction that reflect
broader conventions of
language use common in society
_seek to discover the shared conventions inherent in the
statutory language
C. Purposivism v Textualism in Practice
1. A clear distinction (SC Case: Arlington Central v Murphy)
_parents successfully sued under the Individuals w/
Disabilties Education Act
_issue: recover expert fees paid to expert in education who
assisted them
_opinion (textualism) - begin w/ text and enforce accrdng
to its terms
_dissent (purposivism) - 'costs' should include award of
expert fees; purpose
*looked into bill's legislative history and Act's
basic purpose
2. A convergence of theories

- Fernando
I. Canons of Construction